Wednesday, January 14, 2009

January 15 Cutting back=doing good

January 15
Proverbs 23:1-3 1 When you sit to dine with a ruler, note well what is before you, 2 and put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony. 3 Do not crave his delicacies, for that food is deceptive.
I Timothy 2:8-10
8I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing.
9I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.

Calvin: “As he enjoined men to lift up pure hands, so he now prescribes the manner in which women ought to prepare for praying aright. And there appears to be an implied contrast between those virtues which he recommends and the outward sanctification of the Jews; for he intimates that there is no profane place, nor any from which both men and women may not draw near to God, provided they are not excluded by their vices. He intended to embrace the opportunity of correcting a vice to which women are almost always prone, and which perhaps at Ephesus, being a city of vast wealth and extensive merchandise, especially abounded. That vice is — excessive eagerness and desire to be richly dressed. He wishes therefore that their dress should be regulated by modesty and sobriety; for luxury…we must always begin with the dispositions; for where debauchery reigns within, there will be no chastity; and where ambition reigns within, there will be no modesty in the outward dress. But because hypocrites commonly avail themselves of all the pretexts that they can find for concealing their wicked dispositions, we are under the necessity of pointing out what meets the eye. It would be great baseness to deny the appropriateness of modesty as the peculiar and constant ornament of
virtuous and chaste women, or the duty of all to observe moderation. Whatever is opposed to these virtues it will be in vain to excuse. He expressly censures certain kinds of superfluity, such as curled hair, jewels, and golden rings; not that the use of gold or of jewels is expressly forbidden, but that, wherever they are prominently displayed, these things commonly draw along with them the other evils which I have mentioned, and arise from ambition or from want of chastity as their source. immoderate expense arise from a desire to make a display either for the sake of pride or of departure from chastity. And hence we ought to derive the rule of moderation;

Monday, according to CNN: Outgoing Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott said the recession may have caused a "fundamental change" in the incessant shopping habits of Americans - which will hurt retailers but will benefit society as a whole. Scott, citing his recent meeting with young shoppers, said many had given up eating out, going to the movies and shopping."Everyone has given up something and said how good they felt about it," he said. "I think in some ways it is healthy [for society], even though for us retailers it's not good."

It is hard to imagine the chairman of the largest retailer saying that cutting back on retail sales may not be healthy for a store in the short run, but could be healthy for America. The old saying of the greedy was what’s good for my company [read Walmart, GM, GE, AT&T] is good for America. While our selfish hearts would believe that greed, over-spending, buying what we don’t need are good for us and for the economy, such actions tear at the core and fabric of our country. Deep down, despite the layers of tarnish, the image of God calls out to us that we are not made for selfishness but for God. Deep down we know that love for neighbor is a better way than seeking “extravagance for me.” A slow, steady, balanced, moderate growth is much better than a fast over-extension of growth that must burst like a stretched out bubble. That is true nationally, and I believe it is true in our communities, families, and as individuals. Love (which goes hand in hand with self-denial) is a better way than self-seeking.

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